Preston North End attacker Tom Barkhuizen says the side will head into Tuesday night’s clash with promotion-favourites Watford with plenty of optimism.
The Lilywhites’ No.29 says that last Friday’s derby day win over Blackburn Rovers has given the squad a list ahead of the clash with Xisco Munoz’s Hornets.
Speaking to iFollow PNE the former Morecambe man said: “When you win a derby it automatically lifts the place. We have been on an up and down run; I think we had only won one in six before that.
“So, to come away from the game with a win, especially with the way we lost last time, was a boost to the confidence and hopefully we will take it into the next game.”
Barky played as part of a front two in a 3-5-2 formation at Ewood Park, partnering Ched Evans in attack and he enjoyed having someone alongside him: “It took me back to when I first joined and I when I first got into the team,” he continued.
“I played close to Jordan then and it seemed to work well for me and I think Ched is a similar type of player. He occupies both centre halves and that allows me to drift in behind and wide, which is where I want to be.
“It was nice, but it is different tactics for different games and we will mix it up for different opposition and who knows what we will do tomorrow, but hopefully I will still be in the team.
“I think that type of player is something the gaffer has searched for since Jordan left – a like for like who is going to occupy both centre halves and to be fair to Ched, he has come in the last couple of games and done that – I don’t think you could ask much more of him. That allows players like myself, who like to gamble in behind and things like that, to play our natural game as well.
“From the team’s point of view and my point of view as well, it is good to have him in and playing well and hopefully he can keep it up.”
The 27-year-old was on the scoresheet in the reverse fixture, when Watford defeated a depleted North End squad at the back end of November.
That afternoon, he and Scott Sinclair were needed as wing backs/full backs, but he is hoping that isn’t the case this time around: “We know that they are a good team, regardless of who their manager is. They have got a great squad, the majority of them were in the Premier League last year.
“It will be a tough game, but thankfully we do have a couple of full backs available this time, so it hopefully means we can keep o9ur attacking players further up the pitch.
“It will be a good test again; last time – 4-1 – it looked like a hammering, but for spells in the game, particularly in the first half, we played some nice football and moved it quite well, but we gave away some sloppy goals and against good teams, if you give them chances, then they are going to score.
“Hopefully we will be a bit more solid this time and we can use that to our advantage,” he added.
There’s loads more from Tom in the interview above, as he discusses sending his missus crazy with the amount of football he is watching, the team’s aims over the coming weeks and much, much more, just click on the video at the top of the page to watch the full piece.
The game, which kicks-off at 7pm, will be live on iFollow PNE, on air from 6.30pm, with Jonathan Breeze joined by a former player for full-match commentary of the clash with Xisco Munoz’s Watford side – click here now to sign up for your match pass for just £10.